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France gives Libyan rebels $259 m in frozen Qaddafi funds

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12:00 CEST+02:00

France on Monday said it had given Libyan rebels $259 million (€181 million) in frozen funds that used to belong to the regime of strongman leader Muammar Qaddafi.

"The NTC (National Transitional Council) will now be able to use these funds for purchases of a humanitarian nature," the French foreign ministry said in a statement.

The NTC's new ambassador to Paris, Mansur Saif al-Nasr, said after meeting French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé that "these are funds that belong to the Libyan people" that will be used to buy "food and medicine."

The Libyan rebel movement installed ambassadors in Paris and London last Thursday, formalising ties with its main allies in the fight to topple Kadhafi from power in Tripoli.

France and Britain are taking part in NATO-coordinated strikes against Qaddafi's military assets. Paris was the first outside state to formally recognise the rebels as the country's legitimate rulers.

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